Uber Eats rider: ‘I’m afraid every day’
A delivery rider who saw a colleague die in a car smash on Saturday has said he goes to work every night afraid he will be next.
Jose, 33, who delivers food for Uber Eats, Menulog and Yello, said he was at home in Rockdale when he saw the cyclist getting hit by a car.
"It happened very, very quickly. It happened in two seconds," said Jose, who asked to be identified by a pseudonym for fear of retribution from his employers.
The man he saw getting struck was Bijoy Paul, 27, from Bangladesh, who died in hospital later that day.
He was an Uber Eats rider and the fourth worker in that sector to die in two months.
But his death was not even the most recent one - another colleague died in Redfern on Monday while on the job. He has not yet been publicly identified.
Police said another delivery rider collided with a car in Sydney's Alexandria neighbourhood around 1pm on Tuesday and was sent to hospital in a stable condition to be treated for a shoulder injury.
"If you ride a motorcycle or bike you can die so quickly, it can happen very quickly," Jose said.
"I'm afraid every day."
The death toll has spurred the NSW government to set up a task force led by SafeWork NSW and Transport for NSW to investigate whether there is need for enhanced safety for workers in the delivery industry.
There is also an upper house inquiry into the gig economy that is looking at the issue.
"The deaths of these delivery riders are absolutely tragic and if action needs to be taken we will do that," state Transport Minister Andrew Constance said in a statement on Tuesday.
Jose, who is a student from Brazil delivering food to pay the bills, said the companies pressure riders to do more deliveries and faster, pressure that he feels adds to the risks.
He was at a vigil on Wednesday outside Uber's Sydney headquarters to pay respect to the recently fallen riders.
Pictures of some of the dead were leaned against the glass wall of the office building, in front of bunches of flowers: Xiaojun Chen, Dede Fredy, and Mr Paul, who all died in Sydney, and Chow Khai Shien from Malaysia, who died in Melbourne.
"This is carnage, it's a crisis on our roads," Transport Workers' Union national secretary Michael Kaine told the small crowd gathered.
"Our thoughts are with your families, our solidarity is with you."
Uber Eats, Menulog and Yello have been contacted for comment.
Originally published as Uber Eats rider: 'I'm afraid every day'